New York Governor Andrew Cuomo [official website] on Tuesday signed legislation intended to impose tighter restrictions on gun and ammunition sales. By enacting the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 (NY SAFE) [text, PDF], New York becomes the first state to amend its gun control laws following the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting [WSJ backgrounder]. Cuomo's office issued a press release [official statement] touting the legislation:
New York will be the first state in the nation to ban any magazine that can hold more than seven rounds and run instant background checks on all ammunition purchases at the time of sale. The legislation will allow authorities to track ammunition purchases in real time to alert law enforcement to high volume buys, and will include a statewide standard requiring recertification of pistol permits every five years. The legislation also closes a private sale loophole to ensure all gun purchases are subject to a background check, and toughens criminal penalties on those who use illegal guns.The National Rifle Association (NRA) [advocacy website] was quick to denounce [statement] the legislation, saying that Cuomo "took a hatchet to gun rights in New York with lightning speed" and suggested the group would pursue legislative and judicial means to vacate the law.
This story is the latest development in the Second Amendment and gun control debate [JURIST comment] in the US. Last month the NRA restated its objection [JURIST report] to reinvigorated calls for an assault weapons ban following the Newtown shooting. In July Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that his state would appeal [JURIST report] the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida [official website] ruling that struck down a Florida law that barred doctors from discussing the dangers of gun ownership with patients. In July 2010 the Chicago City Council unanimously approved a new gun control law that bans gun shops in the city and prohibits gun owners from stepping outside their homes, including porches and garages, with a handgun. Shortly thereafter a group of Chicago citizens, supported by both the NRA and the National Association of Firearm Retailers, filed suit against the city [JURIST report] claiming the new ordinance infringes on their constitutional rights. In June 2010 the US Supreme Court ruled in McDonald v. Chicago [opinion; JURIST report] that the Second Amendment applies to states and municipalities as well as the federal government, thereby overturning Chicago's ban on handguns and raising considerable uncertainty about what amount of regulations of firearms was permissible.